Sellars first Trojan to medal in 800-meter at state

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Pulling away Democrat Photo/Lee Stubblefield Cristian Sellars, a senior at Southwest, holds off challengers during the preliminary race at the state track and field championships in Jefferson City. Sellars became the first Southwest boy to medal in the 800-meter race at the state meet, taking fifth in 2:00.88.

It was a busy day for area track athletes at the Class 2 Track and Field Championship in Jefferson City on Saturday.

Cristian Sellars became the first Southwest boy to medal in the 800-meter race at the state meet, taking fifth in 2:00.88 in Saturday's final. On Friday, Sellars won his preliminary heat in 1:58.96, the fastest FAT (fully automated timing) 800-meters in school history.

Pierce City's Krishna Merriman ran down Palmyra's Kelsey Martin in the final strides to give Pierce City a state title victory in the girls 4x200 relay.

Cedric O'Hara, of Pierce City, placed fifth in the boys 200-meter completing the distance in 22.45.

The Lamar Tigers were close to winning the Class 2 boys title. Cleveland NJROTC won the boys team competition, edging Lamar 51-50. Stockton won the girls division with 46 points.

For Lamar, the one-point loss was excruciating. The Tigers' 4x200 meter relay team was disqualified for a false start in the finals. Eight teams advanced to the finals from the preliminaries. Eight teams earn all state medals and points. Only a false start or another form of disqualification can knockout a team or individual in a finals event. When that happens, the medals and points for the eliminated teams are vacated.

Lamar qualified for the 4x200 finals with the fourth fastest time from the two preliminary heats. When the extra shot fired at the start of the event to signal a false start, nobody knew at the time just how important that blank cartridge would prove to be.

Area boys medalists at state were as follows.

Fifth place

* 800-meter: Sellars, Southwest (Washburn), 2:00.88.

* 200-meter: O'Hara, Pierce City, 22.45.

Area girls medalists at state were as follows.

First place

* 4x200 relay: Emily Ashley, Shania Hogan, Bailee Howard, Merriman, Pierce City, 1:46.53.

Sixth place

* 400-meter: Merriman, Pierce City, 1:00.63.

Eighth place

* High jump: Brianna Zebert, Pierce City, 5'1".

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